December 2009 Challenge

Disclaimer/Caveat: So odd thing happened with this challenge—had an idea, started typing, and the thing grew into something totally different…seriously. This story comes after the Season 6 finale but before the movies. I'm not really a big fan of Colleen/Andrew. I don't dislike them, but don't particularly like them, so I have no idea where their bits in the story came from. Well, that's not true. I guess I've always imagined it would be difficult to have Michaela and Sully as your parents, especially when it came to finding a husband. They say women look for men that remind them of their fathers—good luck with that. Because let's face it, Sully would have ruined me for future men.

Let me know what you think. Good or bad. I can take it ; )

Christmas Revelations

"This was a bad idea wasn't it? What was I thinking? We should have booked them rooms at Preston's." Michaela's voice was muffled as she bent once more to check the floor for crumbs and stray toys before turning to straighten the candles and holly decorating the table top.

"It's gonna be fine Michaela. And we tried ta book 'em rooms at Preston's, but his hotel was full." Sully gently grasped her shoulders as he attempted to soothe her nerves. "Stop worryin'. The house looks great."

Michaela took a deep breath as she gazed into calming blue eyes. "I know Sully. I just…forgot to pick up apples for the pie! Brian! Where's Brian? I need him to run into town and get..."

"Michaela!" Sully said exasperated.

She'd been like this for a week now. Ever since her mother had sent a last minute telegram explaining that she planned to spend Christmas in Colorado Springs. At first, it had just been Mrs. Quinn but then Rebecca and her family decided to come. Now it appeared they would have a house full of family.

"Ya don't need an apple pie. You've already got makin's for pumpkin pies," Sully reasoned.

Michaela just looked at him, one eyebrow raised, as Brian hesitantly entered the kitchen. "Did ya need me Ma?"

Brian had been studiously avoiding his Ma all day, well aware of her mood.

"Brian, I need you to go into town and bring me back some apples for a pie. Oh and a few more bags of sugar, I might not have enough. And some flour, just in case." Brian stood, quietly nodding, as Michaela rattled off items.

Sully looked like he wanted to say something but realized it was better to remain silent. Turning to Brian, he shared a look of understanding with his son. "Do you want me ta go with ya?"

Before Brian could respond, Michaela was voicing her own plans. "Absolutely not, I need you to make sure all the beds are ready upstairs and check the window in Katie's room for a draft, and we'll have to make sure we have enough blankets for pallets and…" Michaela drifted off as she saw the frustrated look pass over her husband's face. Feeling slightly guilty, Michaela tacked on a "please" and ushered Brian out the door.

"Hurry Brian, I'd like to bake the pie for dinner tonight before they arrive."

When Michaela turned around, Sully had disappeared upstairs. Sighing, she continued her inspection of the downstairs before eventually heading up to finalize the sleeping arrangements. It was going to be a tight fit, but they had decided to bunk all the children downstairs in front of the fire, Rebecca and her husband in Colleen's room, Colleen and Andrew in Brian's room, and Mrs. Quinn in Katie's room, which put Katie back in with her parents. Michaela sighed as she acknowledged what that meant.

Climbing the last step, Michaela could hear Sully quietly moving about Katie's bedroom, repairing the window. Passing by Colleen's room, she peeked her head in to check on a sleeping Katie before making her way towards her husband.

"Hey," she murmured from the doorway, watching the muscles in her husband's back pull taut as he sealed the window.

"I'm just 'bout finished here," Sully responded without turning around. "Ya know, it's gonna be a little snug for Colleen and Andrew in Brian's bed." When he didn't hear a response, Sully glanced over his shoulder surprised to find desire shining in Michaela's eyes. He didn't know what to think about her mercurial moods when she was stressed. She was notorious for stopping in the middle of things when she remembered one more chore that needed to be finished or one more dish that needed to be cooked. Trying to control his body's response in case this mood wasn't going to last, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath before completely turning around.

"I'm sure they'll manage." Michaela answered with a twitch of her lips as she made her way over to slip her arms around her husband's waist. "They're young and in love."

"Hmm," he murmured distracted by the gleam in her eyes. Sully slid his warm hands down her back, coming to rest low on her hips as he pulled her snugly against his body. "Katie still sleepin'?"

To answer his question, Michaela leaned forward and placed a warm kiss on the strong pulse in his throat before reaching up to capture his lips with her own.

Sully kept Michaela clamped against his body, lips dueling, as he guided her backwards down the hall to their bedroom. Twice they fell against the wall as they lost their balance eagerly trying to pull and push at fabric in search of skin.

They had managed to rid themselves of all clothing by the time Michaela felt her legs bump up against the bed. Trusting Sully to cradle her, she let herself fall back.

He was a furnace; it took her breath away it was so exquisite. Hands groping, Michaela tried to pull Sully's full weight on top of her. She wanted, no needed, to feel the full force of his heat.

"Papa! Pa—pa! I want out!"

Emitting a groan of sheer torture, Sully looked down at his flushed wife and almost chuckled at the disgruntled look on her face as she tried to catch her breath.

"It was the wall. We shouldn't have hit the wall. Twice."

He couldn't hold the chuckle in any longer; she sounded so distraught. He wasn't sure he'd ever remembered seeing her quite so upset over bein' interrupted before.

Still hovering over his wife, he leaned his forehead against hers trying to get his body under control. "At least she hasn't learned to open doors yet," he rasped out, dragging in another labored breath.

"Papa! Mama! Out! Now! Please!"

He knew it was bad when Michaela didn't immediately move to answer Katie's pleas. "Come on. We can finish this tonight." He tugged her up into a sitting position.

"No, we can't finish this tonight," she uttered depressingly, already cold without his touch.

He paused in his contemplation of whether or not he could get into his buckskins in his condition. Deciding the answer was a definite no—even the thought of it was too painful, he tossed the pants onto the bed. "What'd ya mean?"

"Sully, for the next week we are going to have a house full of family and a child in the room with us."

"So?"

Michaela opened her mouth to begin a lengthy explanation about why there was no possible way she was going to be able to be…intimate with him when her mother, her MOTHER for goodness sakes, was in the next room and her daughter five feet away. Nope. Absolutely not going to happen. Ever.

It was the look in his eye that stopped her internal tirade. He was grinning like a fool. It wasn't worth her breath. She had other, more important, matters to attend to than trying to convince her stubborn husband that he was wrong. She hurried and finished dressing then breezed past him on her way to get Katie.

She could still hear him chuckling as she made her way down the hall. It was going to be a long week without privacy.


"Don't fret. You look beautiful." Sully nuzzled Michaela's neck as he shifted Katie in his arms.

"Look, here comes the train!" Brian pointed at the train fast approaching excited to see his family returning home. It was just luck that they all ended up on the same train coming in from Denver.

As it came to a stop in front of the platform, the family anxiously waited for the passengers to unload. It was Brian who spotted Mathew first.

"Mathew!" Running to him, he gave him a big bear hug.

"I missed you too little brother."

"Merry Christmas!" Michaela pulled him into a warm hug.

"Merry Christmas Ma, Sully."

"Good ta see ya Mathew." Sully grasped Mathew's arm as clasped him on the shoulder.

"And how are you Miss Katie?"

Katie squealed in excitement as Mathew took her in his arms.

"Ma! Sully!"

Michaela and Sully turned to see Colleen and Andrew headed their way, followed closely by Mrs. Quinn and the rest of the family.

As hugs and kisses were shared, Michaela took a moment to soak it all in. She cherished these moments, when everyone she loved was safe. Closing her eyes, she sent a quick prayer up to heaven for bringing them all together this Christmas.


It was an hour later when they finally had everyone settled in at the homestead.

"Are you sure it's okay with you and Sully that we all stay here? We could easily stay at the clinic," Colleen asked as Michaela helped her unpack her and Andrew's things in Brian's room.

"Don't be ridiculous. The clinic is no place to spend Christmas. Besides, Sully and I want you here. We've missed you." Hanging up the last dress, Michaela joined Colleen on the bed. "Sorry the bed's a little small." When Colleen didn't respond, Michaela tried to catch her eye. "So how is married life?"

Colleen ducked her head as she felt a blush heat her cheeks. "It's nice."

Michaela grinned, "Just nice?"

Colleen kept her head down as she tried to figure out how to word what she wanted to say.

"Colleen?" Michaela stroked her back soothingly.

"It's…different."

"Well, it takes some time adjusting to married life. You remember what it was like when we moved into the homestead together."

"I know, but…Ma…" sighing Colleen looked up into Michaela's eyes. "I don't know if you realize this, but what you and Sully have…well…it's special. It's like you read each other's thoughts. Like he knows what you want even before you know."

"Colleen."

"I'm not saying I don't love Andrew. I do, with all of my heart, and I know that he loves me, it's just…I don't know what I'm doing and neither does Andrew, so we just end up…fumbling around in this awkward dance."

Michaela sat for a moment as she contemplated how to respond. It was true that she was extremely lucky Sully had been married before; he had experience and knew how to be a husband, but Michaela liked to believe that they would have been able to make it work even without his previous experience.

Turning to Colleen, she reached out and clasped her tense hands.

"Listen to me Colleen, I know it's hard, but you're going to have to talk with Andrew about this. That's the only way a marriage works. It might be embarrassing or awkward, but you'll get through it. It was difficult for me to discuss certain…aspects of marriage with Sully, but he convinced me that talking about my fears and insecurities was the only way to get past them. And he was right."

"It's not that easy. When you married Sully…he was always so sure around you Ma. Mathew and I would sometimes watch him with you and it was like he knew exactly what to say or do. He was so confident. Andrew…he's just not like that. He hesitates, which makes me nervous, which makes him worry, and the next thing you know, we're just putting out the lamp and going to sleep." Colleen's words hung in the air as a single tear slid down her cheek.

Realizing that the problem went deeper than she first thought, Michaela felt a twinge of guilt that she hadn't prepared Colleen better for married life. She had honestly hoped that Colleen wouldn't have any of the insecurities she had struggled with as a result of her Boston upbringing, but perhaps she was wrong. Perhaps every wife had these fears. Goodness knows what would have happened had Sully not been so open and direct about some things, which apparently was the very thing Colleen needed.

"Did I ever tell you what my mother told me about…what happens between a man and a woman?"

With obvious relief that her Ma understood the problem, Colleen shook her head "no."

"She called it the 'wifely duty'." Even now Michaela had a hard time imagining anyone in love considering it a duty. "And I was taught that the woman should wait for the man to…initiate any sort of marital…activity." Michaela paused feeling like she was not doing a very good job of explaining things. It was awkward for Michaela. It wasn't like she was discussing this with Dorothy, a friend and confidant. This was her daughter, and discussing her intimate interactions with Sully, even generally, was uncomfortable to say the least. Maybe she wasn't the best person to talk with her about this.

Taking a deep breath, Michaela plunged ahead. "She was wrong. About all of it. When you're joining together with the man you love—body and soul, it has nothing to do with rules or restrictions. It's just about trust and love and honesty. It might be hard for Andrew because he comes from that world, but I truly believe if you just open up and talk with him, you can work it out. You might have to…" Michaela struggled to find the words "show him with more than words how you feel—"

Mother and daughter were startled by a knock on the door as Sully popped his head in.

"Supper's ready." Glancing from his wife to daughter, he noticed both were an alarming shade of red. Deciding it was safer to exit quickly and ask Michaela about it later, he pulled the door shut and made his way down to the loud crowded kitchen.

Five minutes later, Michaela and Colleen joined the table and bowed their heads for grace.


Michaela finally made her way into their bedroom just after midnight. She had spent the past hour making sure every family member was warm and secure in different parts of the house.

Katie had been put down a long while ago in the corner of the room and would hopefully sleep soundly for the rest of the night.

Michaela was surprised to see Sully sitting up in bed waiting for her.

"I thought you'd be asleep?" she whispered as she unbuttoned her blouse.

"And miss this?" his eyes twinkled in the lamp light as he watched her undress.

Michaela grinned as she tried to keep her heart from speeding up in response to the hungry look in his eyes and instead focused on removing her skirt and stockings.

"She's older Sully. It's not like when she was a baby and she didn't know what was going on, so stop looking at me like that."

Sully feigned a look of innocence. "I've no idea what your're talkin' 'bout."

Slipping her long flannel nightgown over her head, she quickly extinguished the lamp and slid under the covers. Immediately, she felt Sully's body curl around her back, which would have been sweet and comforting, except for his roving hands.

"Sully!" In retaliation, she slipped her icy feet behind her to tangle with his warm legs.

Hearing him hiss, a satisfied smile appeared on her lips. But he was not to be deterred. Slowly she felt the nightgown material sliding up her body.

She tried once more to convince him of his folly as she felt her resistance start to melt. "We really shouldn't do this Sully. What if she wakes up?"

"It's dark Michaela. She can't see us. We're under the covers. And we'll stop if we hear her. Relax."

"But what about the other rooms? What if someone out there hears us? My mother is right next door…" He silenced her with a long deep kiss as he pulled her warm body under his.

"Shhh…we'll be extra quiet, startin' now."

It was harder than it looked, keeping quiet. It seemed each sigh, each moan, each squeak of the bed, reverberated through the silent house alerting others to their activity. It almost wasn't worth the worry and effort. Almost.

Pulling her snuggly into his arms, Sully stroked her hair as their hearts slowed and bodies cooled. "So what'd I walk in on this afternoon with you 'n Colleen?"

Michaela had debated over what to tell Sully. She was torn between her loyalty to her daughter and her need to get Sully's opinion. In the end, she decided to follow her own advice and told him everything.

Michaela was slightly taken aback by Sully's initial reaction.

"I knew there was somethin' 'bout that boy I didn't like. I've a mind ta tell 'im the truth. I'd tell 'im "truth is, you're not man enough to hold a candle to her" then I'd…"

Michaela broke off his unexpected tirade with a kiss. "I love seeing the protective papa come out, but I'm thinking that might not be the best approach to take. And don't exaggerate, you know you love Andrew, and you know he loves our daughter. It's just…complicated."

Drawing soothing circles on his chest, Michaela tried to explain the situation from Andrew's point of view. "Imagine, Sully, a proper Boston man believing all of those ideas I had when you and I were courting and first married. It takes a lot of courage to confront those ideas and overcome them. He just needs someone to tell him it's natural and okay to…act on those feelings. Sort of like you did with me."

Sully sighed realizing Michaela was right. It just never occurred to him that he would have to give his son-in-law advice on holdin' and sparkin'—with his daughter. It just wasn't right.

"How's Colleen handlin' it?"

"She's alright, confused mostly. I don't think I did a very good job preparing her to be a wife. I was so wrapped up at the time with trying to come to terms with the idea of her getting married. I didn't really even think about after…"

"What's worryin' ya?"

"Are you aware of how often the children observed our relationship over the years? Colleen seems to hold us up on some sort of pedestal for how a marriage should be and she feels… disappointed that her relationship with Andrew is not the same."

"'Course 's not the same. It's a different kind of love."

"Yes, well, how do I explain that to our daughter?"

"Don't have ta. She already knows Michaela. That's the problem. Not everyone will have what we have, but that don't mean she can't be happy. Don't mean they love each other any less."

Snuggling down into his warmth, she placed a loving kiss over his heart. "What we have is pretty special isn't it?"

"I'd like ta think so." Sully knew their love was rare, and he thanked the spirits daily for Michaela. Deep down, he figured all the advice in the world wouldn't help Colleen and Andrew find what he and Michaela have, but he was willing to try and help. "Listen, I'll talk ta Andrew. See if I can't move 'im 'long in the right direction."

"Thanks," she whispered into the darkness.

Sully hugged her close as he felt a warm tear land on his chest. "It'll be alright Michaela."

"I know, it's just…I forget how lucky we are to have found each other. I can't imagine my life without you."

"That's good, 'cause I ain't goin' anywhere." Placing a warm kiss on her lips, Sully pulled the quilt up snuggly around them.

Closing her eyes, Michaela smiled as she had one last thought. "Maybe you could give Andrew some advice on enthusiasm. Colleen might appreciate that."

Chuckling, Sully buried his nose in her hair. "Pretty sure you're the expert on that, maybe you should talk to 'em both 'bout it."

Michaela playfully swatted his shoulder as she drifted off to sleep.


Her family had only been here for four days and already Michaela was exhausted. Between managing the clinic, keeping her guests entertained, putting finishing touches on Christmas gifts, and worrying about Colleen and Andrew, she didn't have a moment to herself. Not to mention after that first night, she hadn't a spare moment to spend with her husband. Both fell into an exhausted sleep when their heads hit the pillow each night.

It was Christmas Eve and everyone was busy preparing for the evening's festivities—the church service with a living nativity followed by the Christmas Eve dance.

Sitting in her camisole and petticoats, Michaela finished arranging her curls. A knock on her bedroom door had her slipping on her robe as she heard Colleen's voice requesting entrance.

"Oh Colleen, you look lovely."

"Thanks Ma. Do you want help with your dress?"

"That would be wonderful."

As Colleen assisted her, Michaela observed her daughter's face in the mirror. She looked happier.

"Things are better with Andrew?"

Colleen blushed, but this time there was a light in her eyes that warmed Michaela's heart. "Much better. Once we started talking about it, all this stuff just came tumbling out. He's been worried about offending me, said he didn't want to be too demanding, that he was afraid I didn't really enjoy being with him. I had no idea Ma. If I'd known…"

"You know now, that's what's important. Keep being open with him and it will just get better with time." Pulling Colleen against her side, she wrapped her in a warm hug. "Now let's go see how your grandma is fairing with Katie."

They found everyone dressed and ready to go as they descended the stairs.

"Come on Ma. We're gonna be late."

"It's alright Brian, we've got plenty 'a time." Sully absently squeezed Brian's shoulder as he made his way over to his stunning wife.

Clasping her hands in his, he brought them to his mouth and placed a tender kiss on her knuckles. "Ya still take my breath away."

And Sully still made her blush. Looking into his clear blue eyes, Michaela couldn't help but see love shining, bright and true. Captivated, she leaned in close and whispered against his lips. "You're looking pretty handsome yourself."

Lost in her eyes, he couldn't resist pulling her in closer for a warm kiss. Capturing her lips with his, he felt the blood sing through his veins. Nothing would ever compare to kissing the love of his life—his heartsong.

It was Mrs. Quinn's voice that finally pulled them out of their own world. "Any more of this and we really will be late; children, out to the wagon."

Startled, Michaela and Sully had momentarily forgotten they had a house full of family. Still blushing, Michaela guided everyone towards the door.

"Here, mother, why don't you pass Katie to Sully. Brian, would you carry the pies out to the wagon?"

Michaela spared one last lingering glace at her husband before she hurried outside to get everyone settled.


It was Christmas day and Colorado Springs awoke to snow for the first time in a long time. The world was blanketed in white, and the children were eager to explore this new magical world.

"Is everyone bundled up tight? It's cold out there and I don't want anyone getting sick."

"They're fine Michaela, let 'em out the door."

Michaela backed away and watched as the children escaped the confines of the home into the winter wonderland. The children's reactions were expected; it was Sully who surprised her. He transformed into a grinning 10-year-old before her very eyes.

"Let's go Michaela! We can build a snowman."

She was about to tell him no, that she had too much to do to prepare for Christmas supper but something stopped her. She caught a glimpse of what he must have looked like as a child—before his family disappeared and his world had shattered.

"Let me grab my jacket; I'll meet you out there. You better check on Katie and make sure she's not lost somewhere in the snow." She quickly kissed him then headed up stairs.

It took her longer than she anticipated preparing for the snow. Finally ready to brave the cold, Michaela pulled open the front door. And stopped in her tracks as she took in the sight before her.

Years from now, she would always remember the look on his face—sparkling blue eyes, head thrown back, arms stretched high into the sky—he radiated happiness. As he tossed Katie above his head, Sully appeared truly at peace. It warmed her heart to know home was right where he wanted to be. She had wondered off and on over the years, saw the faraway look that sometimes stole across his face, but seeing him as he was now…she had no doubt. The man was completely and utterly happy with his life.

Feeling eyes on him, Sully turned and saw Michaela watching him with misty eyes. "Ya gonna join us?"

"Always."

The day seemed to fly by—gifts were exchanged, excellent food was consumed, and beautiful carols were sung. Joy filled the house to bursting as friends dropped by to spend time with the Sully family throughout the day. On more than one occasion, Michaela found herself struggling to cope with the intense happiness she was feeling at the sight of her loved ones. Sully, always near, seemed to understand her struggle as he looked around and took it all in—the house that love built. It was always so overwhelming to think about how far they'd come, and what they all went through to get here.

As friends left for their homes and children nodded off by the fire, Sully's eyes connected with Mrs. Quinn.

"Here, Michaela, let me take her." Mrs. Quinn reached over to take a sleepy Katie out of her arms. "How about we go get you ready for bed?"

"I can do that mother."

"Michaela, you get to do this every night; let her grandma put her to bed once. Besides, I believe Sully wants a word with you." With a secretive smile, Mrs. Quinn made her way up the stairs.

Puzzled, Michaela turned to see Sully holding open her jacket by the door.

"Where are we going Sully? It's getting dark out and I need to finish cleaning up the kitchen now that everyone's gone to bed."

"Trust me. It's Christmas."

Lacing his hand with hers, Sully quietly led her out the front door and started making his way through the snow towards one of the sheds they usually reserved for storage. Sully had spent all week secretly cleaning it out to create a little getaway once he realized the over-crowded house wasn't going to allow for much privacy. And if there was one thing he knew about Michaela, it was that she liked her privacy.

As he pulled the door open, Michaela gasped. "When did you do all of this?!" Michaela tried to take it all in. Sully had turned their dirty cold shed into a warm cozy bedroom. A plush stack of soft blankets was surrounded by warm glowing candle light. It was so thoughtful it brought tears to her eyes. "I can't believe you did this."

"Figured ya needed ta get away for a minute."

"It's perfect."

Sully slipped off his moccasins as he tugged on Michaela's hand to follow him down onto the blankets.

"How ya been?"

Michaela chuckled; it did feel like it had been a while since they had time to talk. "Wonderful. Even better now."

Sully grinned as he placed a gentle kiss on her forehead, cheeks, even the tip of her nose, before finally placing a delicate kiss on her warm lips.

Michaela opened her mouth expecting, and eager, for the kiss to deepen, but Sully's lips had moved on. They were burning a slow seductive trail down her neck as his hands worked tantalizingly slow, grazing her chest, releasing each button—one…at…a…time. It was torturous, and all she could do was dig her hands into his thick hair and try to urge him on faster.

Sully could feel Michaela's pulse quicken under his lips as he tried to stretch out each touch, each caress, before he finally released the last button and slid the dress and camisole off her shoulders to pool around her waist.

Michaela had been entranced due to Sully's ministrations, but now that his mouth had left her sensitive skin, she was able to act—do what she'd longed to do. Without even taking the time to unbutton his shirt, Michaela pulled the material up and over his head. She desperately wanted to be skin to skin—needed to be skin to skin.

Wrapping her arms around his warm back, she pressed her chest tight against his and sighed at the sensation. This was where she longed to be—right here, feeling his heart beat against hers, forever.

Whatever this was, it was hard to explain. She had tried with Colleen, but the truth was she didn't know how to explain it; she didn't know how to tell someone to find it, or how to recreate it. She only knew that it was special. And that she was lucky. Because whatever it was, she couldn't imagine her life without it. She could handle anything as long as she always had this.

"Ya alright? You've gotta pretty tight grasp on me. I ain't goin' anywhere."

"I know. I just…I love you more than I can put into words. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me."

"I love ya too, and it seems ta me we don't gotta always try 'n put it into words." Pulling back a little, Sully looked into Michaela's bright eyes. "Figure we say it ta each other every time we touch, every time we sit together in front of the fire, every time we look at Katie 'n see what love made."

"Thank you," she whispered as tears blurred her vision.

"For what?"

"For Christmas I received the greatest gift of all… the gift of love. It's the only gift I'll ever want."

"Well that's good, 'cause it's the only gift I can guarantee ya and my favorite one ta give. I love ya Michaela Quinn."

"And I love you Byron Sully."

"Now can we get back to the kissin'?"

"By all means, let's not stop the kissing." Michaela's laugh was quickly consumed by Sully's warm lips.

She could feel the need, the passion, begin to build again for this amazing man. As he followed her down onto the soft blankets, she realized she would never tire of this; the spark only got stronger each Christmas that passed. This was not how she imagined love to be; it was so much better.

He awoke a while later missing her warmth. Sitting up, the blanket fell away to pool at his waist, exposing his tan skin that seemed to glow in the candle light. He smiled when he saw Michaela propped up watching him.

"Whatcha' thinkin' 'bout?"

"Colleen and Andrew. And us."

"Did I tell ya I talked to 'im? Don't know if it did any good though."

"I think it did, Colleen said they talked, worked a few things out. She looked happier." Joining Sully back under the blankets, she tucked her head under his chin. "I think it's going to be even more difficult for Katie when she gets older after observing our marriage her entire life. Goodness knows the type of man she's going to look for."

"Let's not talk about Katie courtin'. It's not good for my health."

"Your health's just fine. I'm a doctor remember? I know these things. I just worry…"

"You can't worry about this Michaela. All we can do is set a good example."

"You're right."

"Am most the time." Sliding down, he stretched out flat pulling Michaela on top of him. Sully grinned up at her. "That's why ya married me."

"That's exactly why I married you."

Michaela looked down into the face she loved and thought she was more than lucky, she was blessed. She just prayed her children would know this type of happiness as well someday. They deserved it. Everyone deserved it.

The End